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Top 10 things to do in Illinois in the winter

By Olivia Gebhardt

Boredom is one of the biggest problems during winter. Luckily, there are so many unique and interesting things to do in the winter. From ice skating to sitting by a warm fire, there is some activity for every person to do in the doldrums of Illinois winters.
Ice skating is very popular in Chicago, and there are many cool locations to visit. Maggie Daley Park is one of the most popular ice skating places because of its unique design. The ice skating rink is in the shape of a large ribbon and is said to be a quarter-mile long according to the Chicago Loop website.

Another enjoyable experience in Illinois is the many sledding and tubing hills. If you simply search up “sled hills near me,” tons of sled hills will pop up and kids and adults can experience that wonderful feeling of flying down a sled hill.

Even though Illinois doesn’t have luxurious hills to gaze off into, we do have tons of hiking spots where people can go snowshoeing and winter hiking. Moraine Hills State Park is one of the best spots to hike and has ten miles of hiking trails over beautiful hills and ridges.

If someone is looking for more of an athletic challenge, ice climbing is a magnificent and special experience. Ice climbing is when a waterfall freezes over, and people stick mini axes into the ice for grip. There are many locations in Illinois to do this, but the most well-known one is Starved Rock State Park and Nice Ice—Ice Climbing in Monee.
There are some perks to living in the second flattest state including our amazing trails for cross country skiing. One of the best cross country skiing places is Eagle Ridge Cross Country Ski Center, which has miles of trails throughout its golf course.

Even if you aren’t an adventurous or outdoor person, there are many indoor activities to explore. One could sit by a warm fire and read an engaging book with a hot chocolate in hand. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, and One Day in December by Josie Silver are rated top winter books by Good Reads.
You could take a walk on the wild side at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Not just open in the summer, they have amazing winter experiences for everyone. Seeing all of the winter animals playing in the snow and looking at the magnificent light show along with the 18-feet-tall holiday tree are a couple of highlights. The zoo also has other amenities like hot chocolate and a s’more bar.

Polar Adventure Days at Northerly Island Park is a magnificent experience that is one of the top things to do in a frigid Chicago winter. Some main events happening during Adventure Days are taking a tour through Northerly Island Natural Area, seeing Husky teams sled around the peninsula, and making numerous winter crafts.

Taking a walk down the peaceful Lakefront Trail during the winter and seeing the ice-filled lake waves splash along the shore is unforgettable. Sunset is an especially aesthetically pleasing time to see the special colors that paint the sky as the tall buildings in Chicago.

Another unique experience in Chicago is the many rooftop curling places where you can watch or play a fun game of curling. The Gwen Hotel provides a nice warm drink while you play a game of curling with the background being the skyscrapers around.
With all of these fun winter activities, it is impossible to be bored in a cold, Illinois winter. There are so many indoor and outdoor activities that are accessible to everyone. So next time you find yourself not knowing what to do on a snow day, remember to remind yourself of the exciting activities that Illinois has to offer.

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